No comment and apologies to all. I was reviewing the previous discussion only to see what private notes I needed to make in my database and share with our Ethnologue staff in order to document the language, pending a positive vote (which looks quite likely). I realized too late that I sent it to the list accidentally (in fact, I was not sure where it went, since I did not save the sent message, either). Par for a Monday.


Michael Everson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

05/01/2006 10:21 AM
Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

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Re: New ISO 639 proposal - N'Ko - Discussion

Joan, did you have a comment?

At 10:07 -0500 2006-05-01, Joan Spanne wrote:
>N'Ko discussion part 2
>Michael Everson <[log in to unmask]>
>Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>
>03/24/2006 06:07 AM
>Please respond to
>ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>
>[log in to unmask]
>Re: New ISO 639 proposal - N'Ko - Discussion
>At 23:20 +0100 2006-03-23, Håvard  Hjulstad wrote:
>>The concept of a "compromise dialect between a
>>number of other languages" (as stated in the
>>proposal) is quite interesting from a linguistic
>>point of view. Does it mean that N'Ko is some
>>sort of macrolanguage?
>No. It's a literary language. Imagine that there
>were a Runic orthography that people who spoke
>Bokmål, Nynorsk, Danish, and Swedish all used. Or
>just imagine English. Many English-speakers'
>spoken language is very far indeed from the
>written standard. (A favourite example is the
>word "pedal" as pronounced by an American, which
>rhymes perfectly with the word "pearl" as
>pronounced by a Scot.)
>>The use of "literary dialect" may possibly
>>misleadingly suggest that N'Ko isn't an
>>individual language in its own right.
>People speak Bambara and Mandinka and Djula.
>Those languages may be written (in Latin for
>instance), but N'Ko is also a language and it
>differs from them. It's probably originally a
>"trade dialect", that is, a compromise that
>people speaking those languages made for mutual
>intelligibility. Now, however, it has its own
>script and orthography, dictionaries and such.
>It's a entity in its own right, distinct from
>Bambara and Mandinka and Djula and the other
>languages in the family.
>Michael Everson *

Michael Everson *